For the first time in American history, a woman was named the Democratic nominee for president. Because, along the course of her candidacy, it had seemed almost inevitable, many voters cast aside the historical significance of Hillary Clinton's nomination.
On Tuesday night, however, as the Democratic National Convention roll call vote wrapped up and Clinton was formally declared the party's nominee, the atmosphere was nothing short of celebratory.
For older women, ones who fought so hard to crack glass ceilings in ways that younger women today cannot fully comprehend, it was a particularly poignant moment. While casting her vote, Illinois delegate and Clinton's grade school classmate Betsy Ebeling said, her voice cracking:
On this historic, wonderful day, in honor of Dorothy and Hugh's daughter and my sweet friend — I know you're watching — this one's for you, Hill.
So when President Bill Clinton took the stage to address the crowd in what is traditionally a future First Lady's speech, the former commander-in-chief did not disappoint.
"In the spring of 1971, I met a girl," Bill began, telling of how they were in the same class at Yale University, and how he often noticed her around campus but never quite summoned the courage to introduce himself.
So she approached him instead, when he was staring at her in the library one day, still too shy to say hi.
"She closed her book, put it down and started walking toward me. She walked the whole length of the library, came up to me and said, 'Look, if you're going to keep staring at me and now I'm staring back, we at least ought to know each other's name. I'm Hillary Rodham, who are you?'" Bill said, to laughter. "I was so impressed and surprised that, whether you believe it or not, momentarily I was speechless."
It was a (long) love letter of sorts, with Bill touting her extensive list of accomplishments through the events of their relationship.
Clinton, as told by her husband, went from school to school, state to state, worked on education, prison reform, healthcare, fought hard for children, minority groups and communities in rural areas. When she lost the nomination in 2008 to Barack Obama and took on the role of Secretary of State, Clinton pushed hard for peace in the Middle East, Bill said, supported the president's decision to take out Osama Bin Laden, and made climate change part of America's foreign policy.
"Look, I've a long, full, blessed life, it really took off when I met and fell in love with that girl in the spring of 1971. When I was president, I worked hard to give you more peace and shared prosperity, to give you an America where nobody is invisible or counted out. But for this time, Hillary is uniquely qualified to seize the opportunities and reduce the risks we face. And she is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known," Bill said.
"You could drop her into any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month and somehow, some way she will have made it better. That is just who she is."
Speaking directly to the groups that Donald Trump has spoken disparagingly about, Bill pointedly made the case for Clinton:
If you love this country, you're working hard, you're paying taxes and you're obeying the law and you'd like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over somebody that wants to send you back. If you're a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you. If you're a young African American disillusioned and afraid, we saw in Dallas how great our police officers can be, help us build a future where nobody is afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.
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